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Barry Alvarez supports Gary Andersen, Joel Stave

In an interview with, Barry Alvarez defends Gary Andersen's handling of the Joel Stave situation.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez responded to the Gary Andersen and Joel Stave situation on Wednesday, offering support for his second-year head coach via

"He's a guy worried about his player," Alvarez said to the Wisconsin State Journal's Andy Baggot, "trying to protect his player.

"A coach can't come out and say, ‘My guy has mental issues. He's not throwing it well.' You don't do that. He's trying to protect the player and that's the right thing to do."

The problem is that Stave's throwing issues ("the yips" were mentioned as a possibility Tuesday night) have now come to the forefront, and Andersen's initial attempt to cover them up only magnified the attention that the story has received.

Articles on Stave have been posted on sites from Deadspin to Yahoo!, where it even appeared on the front page at one point on Thursday. In other words, this has momentarily become a national story even if it will be soon forgotten outside of Madison.

Had Andersen not first blamed an injury for the issue, or had he at least conferred with his embattled quarterback before making a statement, much of this attention could have been avoided.

Based on the timeline of events and Alvarez's quotes, I'm left to believe the latter did not happen.

"I think Joel said, ‘I'm not injured. I don't want to lie?'" Alvarez said.

Alvarez added that Andersen has not lost credibility with him and that he didn't believe Andersen was trying to be deceptive.

I'll stop far short of questioning Andersen's credibility, but attempting to mislead everyone by saying a player has an injury when they do not is pretty much the definition of deceiving.

"You've got to realize here everything's magnified, it's covered and it's a big deal," Alvarez said. "Maybe a bigger deal than you realize, but it turns into a big deal. These are all lessons."

Lessons that I'm sure Andersen has learned this week.